16 August 2021
When I walked around (pond-sized) Panther Hollow Lake in Schenley Park last Friday, I had to dodge high water. On Saturday I expected to see the same water level, or even higher, but it had dropped significantly. Panther Hollow Lake is doing its job.
Panther Hollow Lake has a smart valve governed by the solar-powered weather instrument in the photo below. The smart valve knows the weather forecast and closes during heavy rain events to hold back fresh water that otherwise flows into Pittsburgh’s combined sewer system. After the danger has passed and before the next storm the valve slowly releases water to provide room in the lake for the next downpour. Thus Panther Hollow Lake prevents downstream flooding in The Run neighborhood.
At normal water level three concrete steps edging the pond are exposed. On Friday 13 August all but the top step were hidden (above) and some walkways were flooded (below).
When I returned 24 hours later the water was lower and all three steps were exposed. Here are the same three scenes on Saturday 14 August.
Today’s forecast calls for thunderstorms with potentially heavy rain. Panther Hollow Lake is ready. The smart valve is doing its job.
(photos by Kate St. John)